Article written by Cornerstone Court Liason, Simon Stone, JD
Approximately 16 years ago Cornerstone of Southern California developed a level of care for individuals that found themselves enmeshed in the legal system. Alternative Sentencing was the name given to this Cornerstone Program which aids attorneys and defendants in providing Courts with a viable socially effective avenue to “house” and “treat” the underlying issues that gave rise to the often “criminal” charges alleged by the District Attorney’s office.
Cornerstone has found that when given the ability to effect change in a defendants life through treatment the Court (and many times the assigned Deputy District Attorneys) will agree to crafting a sentence that provides punishment and treatment wherein jail time is not the only answer. Our populous has voted for treatment for non-violent drug and alcohol dependent/abusing individuals due to the social benefits as well as the cost effectiveness (Defendant paid treatment vs. taxpayer paid incarceration).
Often prior to sentencing defendants can utilize healthcare benefits to offset their costs for treatment provided assessment reveals that medical criteria is met. Our program has been developed for non-violent offenders that are charged with a variety of offenses. Because of the voluminous number of potential charges pertaining to Vehicle Code, Health and Safety Code, Penal Code, the sections herein are merely examples. [Charges range from Driving Under the Influence (Vehicle Code 23152), Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance (Vehicle Code 11550), Possession of a Controlled Substance for sale (Health and Safety Code 11375), Petty Theft (Penal Code 488)] Often our clients come to us through attorneys, healthcare providers, Employee Assistance Professionals, human resources departments, unions, interventionists or at the request of family.
To best benefit from the Alternative Sentencing Program here at Cornerstone of Southern California assessment and admission into the program EARLY will provide both the client/defendant and his/her attorney the greatest opportunity to potentially mitigate the severity of punishment handed down by the Court as well as provide the client support throughout their proceedings and the family support and comfort knowing their loved one is regaining their life, esteem, confidence and ability to cope with their life and make better choices free from alcohol and/or other mood/mind altering chemicals.